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Fulfilling one of her childhood dreams

Sally Jensen performing recital in fundraising event

(L-R) Sally Jensen, Jan Bass, Peggy Martin, and Connie Steiner rehearse for Jensen’s “Senior” Recital on May 9. (click for larger version)
May 21, 2009
PLYMOUTH — Plymouth resident Sally Jensen will be performing her "Senior" recital on Saturday, May 9 at 4 p.m. at the Plymouth Congregational Church.

Jensen will be singing, playing instruments, singing duets, and sharing her music with family and friends. She will be singing Italian arias, German art songs, playing jazz on her clarinet and tenor sax in a small ensemble, and singing a specially arranged piece from an old movie.

"I can not believe I am at the point in my life that I would consider doing this," said Jensen. "The idea of organizing a concert started with my daughter-in-law, Shelly, who said, 'Of course you should do a recital and share your music.'"

Music has always been a part of Sally's life. In grade school, she played a tenor sax, as well as sang in the church choir and in the chorus. "When I was thinking about what I would do after high school and thinking about college, my mother asked me what I wanted to do," said Sally. "I simply said that I would love to study music. My very wise mother's reply was 'No, you are going to study for a real job.' In those days, years ago, my folks did not think of music as a profession."

Instead, Sally decided she would get a degree to teach elementary school, a profession she's still am involved in today. "I love teaching and thankful and blessed that I my profession is in teaching," she said.

Preparing for college, she gave up her sax, needing to concentrate on her studies. "My folks were paying for college, so I put all of my efforts into my studies," said Sally. Even so, she was able to be involved in a women's glee club and took some music courses as part of the course work in college. She was told by a professor that she should go on and take lessons. "I really did not make the connection that your voice was your own instrument," she said, "that through lessons, I could develop and learn how you use that very special instrument that each person possesses."

It was forty years later, a couple of years before retiring from full time teaching, that Sally had the notion to play an instrument. She was teaching fifth grade students, which is the grade when students have the opportunity to pick an instrument of their choice. The school would provide the lessons. Sally decided to rent a tenor sax. With one reed and no music, she took her rental home and played for hours. "I could not believe it, what have I been missing all of these years," she said. "It was not long before I bought my a tenor and I was looking for opportunities to play."

She also had heard a Mozart's Concerto in A for clarinet. She fell in love with that piece and decided to learn how to play a clarinet. She found a student clarinet for $100 and started in. She bought some books, started taking lessons and was on her way.

A very good friend and colleague, Kenda, encouraged Sally to try out for the University Symphonic band. "I was very nervous during the audition," she said. "The clarinet was new to me." She did make it into the band, however, and currently is playing bass clarinet.

As far as her voice, she was always involved a choir to keep up with her singing, taking lessons off and on through the years. It was not until she played a Nun in the Sound of Music musical at Plymouth State University in 2001, that she really thought about taking voice lessons on a regular basis. "I am not getting any younger, and there will be a day, physiologically, that I might not be able to sing," said Sally. "I need to keep my voice as strong as possible as long as I can. I finally got it. My voice is my own unique instrument and it takes practice and technique to keep in strong and vibrant. I found a voice teacher, Eva, who is amazing."

So, Saturday, May 9, 2009, is the big day, where she will have the privilege to be singing, playing, and doing solos, duets, and ensembles. "It is special in so many ways," said Sally. It is also special as this musical event is a fundraiser for the Joan Lovett Music Fund of the Plymouth Congregational Church, a very worthy cause to help the music endeavors of the church, an intricate part of its worship service.

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